Ambassador Sullivan on Paul Whelan’s Trial (April 20, 2020)

Good morning, thank you for being here. My name is John Sullivan, I am the U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation. I came here to the courthouse today to try to get into the hearing that is going to be held any moment.

I tried last week and was not admitted.  I tried again today, and did not get admitted as well, and it is disappointing.  

I really have two principal points that I want to make: 

First, I am urging the Russian government to ensure that the treatment of Paul Whelan in his confinement, in his detention, is humane.  He needs medical treatment and needs to speak with his family. 

He hasn’t been allowed to make a phone call, to speak to anyone in his family in 16 months.  He needs medical treatment for a medical issue that could be treated very simply, but it is a serious issue and the Russian government has refused.  That’s intolerable, and it is unacceptable. 

I will continue to raise this issue at every opportunity until that is solved.  

Second, we expect that Paul’s trial will be a fair and impartial trial.  It’s a fundamental human right that anyone accused of a crime is presumed innocent and is tried in a fair impartial and public hearing.  The fact that it is a closed hearing, that it is a secret trial – Paul hasn’t seen the evidence against him – it makes a mockery of justice.  

So, again, I have no higher priority as U.S. Ambassador than advocating for the fair treatment of American citizens.  And I am here today to stand in solidarity with Paul until he gets the fair treatment that he deserves, as any human being deserves, and that his medical issues are addressed, and he is able to speak to his family.   

Thank you.